Building your email template

It can be daunting when you’ve made the decision to start running email marketing campaigns to start designing a template. With so many options to choose from starting can be the toughest part. We’re here to help you and are going to show you step by step how you can create an email template you’ll be proud to send out.

What are email templates?

Email templates or email formats, are layouts you design to reuse for your campaigns. Essentially, when you create a template you are creating a standard format that you can update to send out your campaigns. Templates house all the containers you need and help you send out cohesive, easy to recognise mailers that people will enjoy.

Why it’s important to design a good email template

Brand consistency

It’s really important that you represent your brand in the best possible way. Therefore spending that extra time to design a beautiful template for your campaigns will help you reinforce your brand messaging. Good branding helps you build your credibility. A well designed email template gives you ample opportunity to let your unique voice and tone shine through, helping you connect with your subscribers. As email is a very personal form of communication you’ll set yourself apart through your consistent branding in your campaigns.

Easy to understand

Having a standard template format helps you create a consistent experience for your audience, which means it is easier for them to understand your messages. Over time subscribers know what format to expect information from you in.

Deliverability and rendering

A well-designed email template helps you control how your subscribers see the information you send out. Email design has many facets and badly designed templates can negatively affect your deliverability. You need to ensure that you create an email template that is optimised and makes it easy for subscribers to scan your content.

Where to start

The first thing you need to do is think carefully about what kind of content you will be sending out. Are you going to send promotional emails or will you be pushing your subscribers to your latest blog articles, or a combo of both? Once you have a clear idea of the type of content you will be sending out on an ongoing basis you can start putting together your template.

If you have access to a designer, you can brief them to create a template for you, or you can roughly draw out a picture of what you think you need.

Another alternative is to simply start with one of our predesigned templates and update your brand elements from there.

Things to keep in mind when you start your design


Make sure your template is well branded and clearly communicates who the email is from. This includes making sure you use a dedicated from name and sending address. You also want to ensure that elements like your logo and, if used, menu bar are always placed in the same space. For example if you usually centre your logo at the top of your email, keep using your logo centred for your campaigns in the future.

Font considerations

Not all fonts are created equal. When you design your email template, you will want to make sure that you use web-safe fonts. Web-safe fonts are supported by most operating systems and devices and will therefore help you ensure that your email appears as you intended it to.

Commonly used web-safe fonts are: Arial, Verdana, Times New Roman, Georgia, etc.

Calls to action

Calls to action are crucial when it comes to successful email marketing campaigns. You need to help your subscriber know exactly where they need to go to next or what action you’d like them to complete so you can reach your goals.

Common calls to action are: Read More, Buy Now, Download Here.

Background images

Choose background images that complement your text but that also doesn’t overshadow it. If you use an email background image you also need to be aware that it won’t appear on all email clients.

Columns in your email

Columns in your email work the same as columns in your print newsletters. For emails we wouldn’t recommend using more than 4 columns as your content will become quite squashed if you add too many columns. Ideally you want to use a two or three column layout to ensure your email renders nicely and your design looks good.

Testing your template

Once you’ve completed your email template you should do thorough testing on how your template performs in different email clients. This means actually sending yourself previews and then viewing the previews in the different email clients.

Have you built your email template yet? If you don’t want to build your own template from scratch, you can use one of our predesigned templates to help you get started.


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